Arrow “Heir To The Demon” Episode Review
The child of Ra’s al Ghul has finally been revealed, and surprise, its not who we all thought. Considering how much Arrow likes to give us the unexpected, this really shouldn’t have been that much of a surprise. That said, anytime anyone with the last name al Ghul shows up, trouble is sure to follow. “Heir to the Demon” continues the story first started in “League of Assassins” with a few surprising twists, lots of great action, and a lot of good old fashioned family drama.
When the child of Ra’s al Ghul was first mentioned earlier this year, I figured that Starling City would eventually be getting a visit from Talia al Ghul, I was wrong. Nyssa al Ghul, Talia’s lesser known sister is the Ghul that Arrow gets, and honestly, it’s the right choice. Arrow already borders on Batman territory with the vigilante billionaire theme, not to mention all the villains that have already shown up from Batman’s rouge gallery. Adding Talia, a character with so much history with the Dark Knight, might have been too much. Arrow has done such a good job creating it’s own great hero, it really doesn’t need people thinking it’s just Batman lite. That’s why Nyssa was such a great choice for the show. With not much history in the comics, she can bring the League of Assassins and even Ra’s al Ghul name into the Arrow universe without any expectations or baggage. This is a character that Arrow can really make its own, all while using her famous lineage as a great link to the rest of the DC universe. This is a great move by the Arrow team.
With all that said, it wouldn’t have mattered what Nyssa’s last name was if she got the same unfortunate treatment that so many secondary villains get on this show, lucky for us that wasn’t the case. Nyssa stood out right from the opening scene, and truthfully every time she was on screen she just about upstaged everyone else. Katrina Law was fantastic as Nyssa, and played her with the exotic beauty combined with dangerous assassin you would expect from any daughter of Ra’s al Ghul. Even more, her fight scenes with Oliver were simply amazing. Their fighting styles are so similar, it made for some awesome action sequences, plus it’s always nice to see that Oliver can go toe to toe with a master assassin. Nyssa/Katrina is a fantastic addition to the growing Arrow rouge gallery, and hopefully this will just be the beginning of her appearing on the show.
So now that I’ve spent half the post talking about how great Katrina Law/Nyssa al Ghul was, I guess we need to talk about why she was in Staring City in the first place, Sara Lance. At some point Sara was gonna have to face the League of Assassins, and deal with the consequences for leaving. Nyssa coming to bring her back to the League wasn’t unexpected, the fact that they used to be a couple was. This is the first time Arrow has touched on same-sex relationships, and I thought it was done very well, it never felt forced or seemingly done for any kind of shock value. Sara and Nyssa had real chemistry together, and it was very believable that they had once been in love. In the end, that love was even the reason Sara was finally released from the League of Assassins. Comic books have recently really started to be much more open about their characters having different sexual orientation, I’m glad that the shows based on these comics are up to doing the same. It was great to see the Arrow writers offer us something different, and even better they did it in a way that felt real.
If there was a down-side to this weeks episode it was the flashbacks to the Lance family past. For the first time I can remember, there were no island flashbacks, instead we got a chance to see the Lance family right before Sara decided to go with Oliver on the Queens Gambit. The scenes felt way to Leave it to Beaver for a show like Arrow, and even more, they never really seemed to have a purpose. I thought the idea of Sara and Laurel having some sibling rivalry between them was already established, and besides that, this show has done a very good job at showing how much suffering that fateful event has caused the Lances. Mostly the flashbacks felt pointless, and ultimately took away from the much better scenes surrounding Sara reveling to her family that she is still alive. Laurel’s anger towards Sara might have been her best dramatic moment this season. Unlike most of the issue’s Laurel has faced this year, coming to terms with her sisters betrayal all those years earlier felt the most real. I’m glad Sara’s return didn’t brush away the issues that the Lance family is going to have to deal with down the road. Lastly, with Sara and Oliver hooking back up, I’m now sure that the writers do hate Laurel Lance.
Even with all the Lance drama taking up most of the air time, we still got a chance to see some good Queen drama unfold. With Moira Queen deciding to run for mayor, I figured it’d only be a matter of time before her secret about Thea being Malcolm Merlyn’s daughter got found out, but I was surprised it happened so soon. I liked that Felicity was the one to find out Moira’s secret, it made sense given how good Felicity is at uncovering the truth. Plus it gave us a good chance to see that Moira still has a darker side, when she tries threaten Felicity into not telling Oliver about Thea. Moira is a much more interesting character when she taps into her sinister side, hopefully we’ll see more of that in the future when she inevitably becomes mayor. I’m happy Felicity told Oliver the secret right away, for a moment I thought she would keep it to herself and we’d have to suffer through multiple episodes of Felicity dealing with the weight of holding the truth from Ollie. The timing was even perfect, telling Oliver right before he had to say some nice words about his mother for her campaign, and seeing his reaction was fun to watch. The internal struggle and tension he felt over supporting Moira, or just exploding on her in front of everyone was a written all over his face and might have been a dramatic high for this show. His sequential falling out with mother was also well done, the acting on this show has always been good, but the last part of this episode ranks as some of the best of both seasons. It will be interesting to see what happens with the Queens going forward, at some point Thea is going to find out she’s a Merlyn, and I cant imagine that’s gonna end well.
The child of Ra’s al Ghul might not have been the one I expected, but she did not disappoint. Nyssa was every bit the great character her powerful name implies. She brought with her some of the best fight scenes Arrow and Canary have had this season, and her actions allowed some much needed Lance family drama to finally unfold. “Heir to the Demon” is an example of how you bring a standout new villain onto show already full of them.
I give “Heir to the Demon” 9/10 reasons that any daughter of Ra’s al Ghul is not to be trifled with.